PDS College Counseling Offers Expertise, Growth Opportunities

College Counseling at Princeton Day School is a highly individualized program experience designed to facilitate and support the student-led process of self-understanding as they move toward graduation and what lies beyond. It's one of the Upper School's signature programs, offering great resources, deep expertise and unique growth opportunities for students and families. 

The program approach focuses on helping students appreciate and reflect on their identity, attributes and growth areas, tell their personal story, and consider criteria that will matter most to them in their next learning community. These components are among the primary ingredients in helping students identify colleges and programs—of which there are usually several for each student!—that are considered the right match. The PDS College Counseling team, which includes Director of College Counseling Sarah Graham, Associate Directors of College Counseling Cynthia Michalak and Ryan Jannos, and Assistant to College Counseling Darling Cerna '13, works tirelessly through every step of this process with the students. The results to date have been a 100% matriculation rate of PDS seniors to four-year colleges, including a regular stream of graduates participating in collegiate-level athletics.

The College Counseling program emphasizes relationship-building, blending a series of 1:1, personalized meetings with students and their families, small-group meetings, seminars for juniors that cover all aspects of the college admissions process, guidance in the athletic recruiting process, and parent programs that educate parents on all aspects of the college search and application process. Another powerful program feature involves the relationships the College Counseling team has developed with college admissions offices from myriad colleges and universities around the world, many of whom provide representatives to visit with PDS students.

This year, these college representative sessions have gone from in-person to virtual as the College Counseling team and their college admission colleagues have seamlessly adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic. Already this fall, the College Counseling team successfully held a virtual evening program for juniors, seniors and their parents, which included a special panel of guest admissions representatives: Villanova University's Carolyn Westermann, Duke University's Kathy Phillips and Pomona College's Adam Sapp.

On November 19, College Counseling hosts its annual event to connect the School's 11th Grade students and their families with their individual college counselors. It's a key moment in a journey that the juniors, their parents and the College Counseling program continue together all the way through graduation. And of course, throughout the fall, College Counseling has been working diligently with seniors as they finish and send college applications ahead of the upcoming November 1 application deadlines for early action and early decision. Check out the College Counseling Instagram page, which has been featuring some fun posts of seniors who have completed their applications! 

Seniors who completed and sent applications to colleges

Photos (from top): A collage of the PDS College Counseling team: Director of College Counseling Sarah Graham, Associate Directors of College Counseling Cynthia Michalak and Ryan Jannos, and Assistant to College Counseling Darling Cerna '13; four seniors who recently completed and sent applications to colleges.

For more information on the program, go to the College Counseling landing page. For last year's college destinations, see the Class of 2020 college matriculation. 

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